DOH, DTI warn public vs use of hoverboards
(The Philippine Star) - January 9, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) yesterday cautioned the public against buying hoverboards, the two-wheeled, gliding motorized scooters, following reports about injuries and potential electrocution connected with its usage.

In a joint advisory, the DOH and DTI said the product has been recalled in Australia.  

In the United States, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) had reported in August 2015 an increase in hoverboard-related injuries treated in emergency rooms, including fractures, strains, sprains, contusions, lacerations and head injuries.

CPSC also warned that sudden explosion and fires emanating from the batteries may cause injuries needing emergency management and hospitalization. There were also reports of potential electric shock while charging.

Initial investigation of the CPSC points to poorly-designed lithium-ion batteries installed inside these devices that cause overcharging which in turn may lead to overheating, fires and explosion.

Fire safety advocates have recommended that consumers should avoid leaving the devices unattended while being charged, and to let the devices cool off before recharging them.

In the Philippines, using a hoverboard led to the suspension of Fr. Albert San Jose of the Our Lady of Miraculous Medal Parish in Biñan, Laguna.

San Jose officiated the Christmas Eve mass inside the church while riding a hoverboard.

The advisory showed that hoverboard riders “balance on the platform, propelled by three volts or higher capacity batteries, which may be difficult to properly control, prone to unsteady driving position and may result in higher risk of falls and injuries.”

Currently, the Food and Drug Administration- DOH regulations under ISO 8124 standard for toys only allow the use of 24 volts and below for electronically-activated toys for children under 14 years old of age.

The advisory noted that in other countries however, “there are no specific regulations for hoverboards, further raising safety concerns on the use of these devices.”

“Thus, in the light of reported health and safety issues/concerns (including fires and explosions) and as a precautionary measure, the DOH and DTI-Consumer Protection Group therefore advise parents against buying hoverboards for children under 14 years of age,” it added.

Several international and local airline companies have earlier adopted the policy that passengers will not be allowed to bring lithium battery-powered personal devices amid the growing popularity of hoverboards. This applies to both checked and carry-on baggage.

The move is in compliance with International Air Transport Association regulations on the transport of dangerous goods, which includes lithium batteries.

ALBERT SAN JOSE OF THE OUR LADY OF MIRACULOUS MEDAL PARISH CHRISTMAS EVE CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION CONSUMER PROTECTION GROUP DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY DRUG ADMINISTRATION IN THE PHILIPPINES IN THE UNITED STATES INTERNATIONAL AIR TRANSPORT ASSOCIATION SAN JOSE
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